It is generally accepted that sociologists investigate society at two levels: macro and micro. Microsociology in the study of human communication in their daily lives, in their immediate interpersonal interaction.
The main attention of sociologists this micro level theory focuses on the study of the behavior of specific individuals and small groups, their actions, motivations which have a decisive influence on the interaction between people, which in turn affects the stability of society and of ongoing change.
Supporters of the microsociological level are representatives of:
- the theory of social exchange (George Homans, Peter Blau);
- the theory of ethnomethodology (Harold Garfinkel);
- phenomenological macro theory in sociology;
- symbolic interactionism that focuses on the interaction of individuals (Cooley, Mead, Kuhn, Blumer).
The macrosociology interested in large scale social systems and processes, occurring over long periods of time. A macrosociology focuses on patterns of behavior that help to understand society as a whole. And it examines various social institutions such as family, science, education, religion, etc. Since its inception included in this system of social structures and feel their influence. A macrosociology deals with large communities and even humanity as a whole.
The scope of the main interest of macrosociology is the study of the relationship between different parts of society and how there is a change in these relationships over time.
Researchers macrosociological level adhere to the principles of one of several major competing theories:
- structural functionalism (H. Spencer, E. Durkheim, Parsons, Merton, etc.);
- the theory of social conflict (Karl Marx, Dahrendorf, Coser, Bolding);
- the theory of social change
- the theory of social systems, and others.
A fairly unambiguous definition of micro and macro perspectives does not exist and the boundary between these two levels remains conditional. The difference lies in the different understanding of the subject of study and level of generalization.
Since the time of Auguste Comte, Western sociology throughout the nineteenth century until the 20-ies of XX century was dominated by macro-sociological orientation. All sociology during this period was limited only to theoretical.
The formation of microsociology as an independent region begins at about the 30-ies To a large extent this was due to the beginning in the 20-30-ies in the United States social processes (the economic crisis, the great depression, rising unemployment, crime, etc.). All this largely stimulated the widespread deployment of sociological research focused on the empirical description of the various aspects of life of individual social groups without consideration of their connection with the processes occurring at the macro level theory.
Basically the ongoing study, performed at the micro level analysis, was aimed at resolving specific social problems.
In the late 60-ies there was a sharp demarcation at the micro – and macro level analysis, which primarily resulted from the inability to provide a full analysis of companies.